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Windows 8 Developer Preview

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Back on Thursday, I posted a link on Facebook to the download site for the Windows 8 Developer Preview, which is available from: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516. After pulling odwn the ISO on Thursday night, I decided to give it a try last night.

One thing I noticed when downloading the ISO was that there was a 32-bit option. I thought Microsoft were planning to drop 32-bit operating systems from Windows 8. It would make sense, as the number of 16-bit apps by then would likely be few and far between, plus many systems now have at least 4GB of RAM – of which a 32-bit OS cannot take full advantage of! Back on topic – I went for the 64-bit option.

The first job was to upgrade my HyperVisor (how I love that word) to VMware Workstatopn version 8. When I built corei7, my current workhorse back in April, the main emphasis was a fast box for running VMs. After a couple of reboots (removing the old/installing the new version), I created a new VM, allocating 2GB of RAM and 60GB of HD space. For good measure, I allocated two cores and told it to use bridged networking – i.e. so it would appear as one of my computers on my network. Install media was the downloaded ISO.

Installation was quick and easy whilst being very similar to Windows 7’s routine. A few questions about creating a user account etc. and I was good to go.

Whwn Windows 8 first boots, you get presented with a tablet’style dashboard, with links to Internet Explorer, Control Panel etc. There is also an option to show the desktop and Start Menu/ although the Start Menu does not enable you to select applications. I thought the removal of the Classsic Start Menu from Windows 7 was bad – this is even worse!

InĀ order to find apps, you have to click on the Desktop link and then click the Start Menu, choose Search amd then select Apps. Links to WordPad etc. exist off that dashboard. Very cumbersome and for a desktop OS, I’m not convienced it is the slickest or most user-friendly way to go. With a few less steps, it may make sense on a tablet.

There are widgets for social networking etc. but once you open them, it is difficult to know how to close them or how to switch between apps. Thankfully, the old ALT-TAB shortcut works for task switching.

Performance-wise, Windows 8 appeared to boot at a decent turn of speed and didn’t feel sluggish when in use.

For those interested in seeing what Windows 8 Developer Preview looks like, Paul Thorrott’s excellent Super Site has some here: http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows8/windows-8-developer-preview-screenshot-gallery-140545#/0

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